Not a Chance!

You might recall an earlier post where I wrote about going on vacation and the challenges I had with that. Well, I’m happy to report I am writing this while on previously mentioned vacation. It’s been glorious! I am not trying to kick sand in the faces of my North Atlantic Seaboard brethren, but this beats the heck outta where you’re at right now. Continue reading Not a Chance!

the once and future Loner

I’m an introvert.

I prefer to spend large amounts of time by myself. Being around groups of people (read that as more than one person) causes me physical and mental discomfort. I get headaches, my skin crawls and there’s a battle going on, internally, about staying or leaving. That said, I usually shoot my pictures alone. Continue reading the once and future Loner

Thief!

An internet Troll is a disgusting, narcissistic and sadistic creature that takes great pleasure in making you as miserable as he/she is. They often conduct their campaigns of sleaze from the safe confines of their mothers basement, a filthy toilet stall in a high school or while sponging free wifi as they sip their Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip in an over-priced, hipster d-bag coffee shop. Continue reading Thief!

bring ’em or leave ’em?

I’m packing up my circus tent and going on the road.

Yup, I’ll be taking a break from this small corner of the planet and head off to somewhere much more pleasant this time of year. I do not care for winter and if I don’t have to subject myself to all of the nonsense that goes along with it for the duration, I won’t.

some of my relatives down south
some of my relatives down south

So off I go …to somewhere other than here and I’m taking my toys with me. “How fun!” you think, right? Continue reading bring ’em or leave ’em?

the anxiety

tiesoverthebay HAVE YOU FELT IT ?

or …have you seen the trailers, the commercials, the action figures, the clothing, the cereal, the coffee creamer, the toothpaste, the mouthwash, the toilet paper !?!!!

The Force  is going to awaken, not too long from now actually, and I couldn’t be happier. It seems as though the entire world is anticipating the movies release and it’s been nothing short of amazing to kind of sit on the sidelines and watch the excitement build.

The trailers have been extremely inspirational as far as my toy-photography goes. I’ve been watching the original trilogy non-stop when time allows. The theme music has been on “endless loop” in my head and I have my tickets to the premiere stashed away in a very, very safe place. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to December 18th.

BUT…

I have a problem. Right now, anytime I feel the need to immerse myself in the Star Wars universe, I can do so. I can plop myself down in front of my gigantic television, mash a few buttons on a remote and TAH-DAH, instant Star Wars!

I can watch any of the six movies anytime I want! I can watch them back to back, I can watch them the way they were released (IV, V, VI, I, II, III) or I can sit back and relax, just knowing that if I want to visit Darth, Luke and the gang, I can. Until the 18th of December that is.

After that I will have to make the arduous trip from where I live (a small island two hours away from any real theater) to where “they” keep the new episode hidden away. Now “they” will only show you the film after you’ve handed over the official “view the greatest movie ever released in your lifetime” fee. Now “they” control access to what may go on to be known as “THE MOVIE THAT BROUGHT WORLD PEACE, ENDED HUNGER and MADE EVERYONE INCREDIBLY HAPPY”.

How am I supposed to live that way?

 

Dear Captain Phasma, Please be more like Boba Fett and less like Jar Jar Binks.
Dear Captain Phasma,
Please be more like Boba Fett and less like Jar Jar Binks.

Additionally, what if The Force Awakens and it looks like it’s hungover? Like…. like it’s been on a thirty year bender?  What if it’s (gasp) terrible? What if J. J. Abrams has completely lost his mind and is about to unleash an episode that will go down in history as the worst movie ever seen by anyone ever? I can’t take another Jar Jar Binks. Enough said about that.

I’ve been using the hashtag “inJJwetrust” in my toy-photography and I sincerely mean it. Mr. Abrams and I share a love and enthusiasm for a movie we both saw in 1977. I’m POSITIVE that his love and enthusiasm will shine through on December 18th and I hope to feel like a nine year old kid again around 7:05 p.m. that evening.

But still… the anxiety.

 

 

Pieces of the Puzzle

I have been taking a trip down memory lane on twitter and posting blog entries from a year ago. I ran across one from last March where we asked if anyone wanted to join us and the silence was defining. But that didn’t stop Me2 and myself.

We have grown our community one blog post and one amazing photographer at a time.

Continue reading Pieces of the Puzzle

Captain Kaos

When I began writing this, I went about it all-wrong…

I treated it as an assignment. “Why do I photograph toys…?” Hmmmmm.

I went off on an “artsy-fartsy” tangent and got all philosophical. “I PHOTOGRAPH TOYS BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE!” Or something like, “Well, often times my figures express how I am feeling much more succinctly than I ever could….” Maybe even, “The question that lies at the very core of our existence as human beings may perhaps, be answered by a photo of that ONE action figure, HARUMPH!”

Of course, that’s all absolute nonsense and the answer to the question – WHY – is much more simple than any of that.

When I was growing up, my Father was an Officer in the United States Army. When asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer was always “I wanna be an Army man like my Dad!” I can directly attribute my enormous collection of G.I. Joe figures (yes, the originals with fuzzy beards and Kung-fu grip) and plastic green army men to being raised as an Army Brat. Those figures suffered through unimaginable battles. I’d melt pieces of them out, create a small hole and place shredded cotton, colored red with a marker, in the holes to simulate blood…than take them outside, set them up somewhere and take pictures.

After I’d burn up a roll of Kodak 110, my Mom would take that film to get them developed somewhere…I vaguely remember a shack in the middle of a parking lot off of Highway 440 in Killeen, Texas. Than, what seemed like many years later, we’d get the developed roll back and I’d tear open the envelope to stare at my glorious war scenes I’d recreated! Of course, the photos were terrible, out of focus and blurry. But I had taken an idea I had in my imagination and “made it” real.

FANTASTIC!

Star Wars captured my imagination in 1977 like it did every other kid of my age at the time. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Stormtroopers, Darth Vader…. light sabers, blasters, A DEATH STAR! Let me say that again and this time imagine you’re nine years old, sitting in a movie theater, speechless, and a figure clad in black armor, wearing a helmet that looks like it’s from one of your nightmares, mentions THE DEATH STAR! WHAT ? ! ? My toy photography took off in a new direction…

I spent many, many hours setting up R2-D2 and C-3PO in the playground trying to recreate scenes from Star Wars. Hard to do with the limited number of figures available at the time, but damn if I didn’t try my hardest.

Fast-forward thirty years and toy photography has become my “creative outlet”. I’ve always done it, before there was a name for it and long before social media existed. A few years ago, I was messing around with a clone trooper from the Star Wars saga and on a whim I posted it to Instagram. It wasn’t anything fancy. The trooper was sitting at the end of a beach chair and I was fortunate enough to catch some lens flare. Surprisingly, the picture was a hit with (GASP) other toy photographers!

There were OTHER people that were doing the SAME THING!

My weird little hobby had found a home. I’ve met some incredibly talented people in “IG Land”. I’ve been inspired, amazed and sometimes, literally speechless when scrolling through my feed. So many talented people across the globe, all taking pictures of toys, with the dedication, enthusiasm and achieving the results you’d expect to see in an art museum.

So why do I photograph toys?

I guess because I always have. It’s a part of who I am. I’m always looking for a way to improve my shots and discovering new techniques to employ. I enjoy the entire process. Toy photography is a small and fairly specialized genre… I certainly hope I’m part of it when it’s noticed AND respected for what it is, by a much larger audience.

~ Matt Rohde

The beginning.
The beginning.

We are very happy to announce that starting next week Matt will be posting  a weekly feature here at StuckinPlastic and I couldn’t be happier! I have long admired his photography and the (often) poignant stories that accompany them. Matt has been a big inspiration to me and my own toy photography and after reading his “Why?” statement I understand that much better. I hope you will give him a very warm welcome. ~ xxSJC

This post is part of our “Why? series”, where we interview toy photographers around the world and ask them the simple question: Why?

Here are a few of the other iconic interviews: East Mountain, Jaiken, Balakov, …

Captain Kaos

In less than two months I will have the pleasure of heading to Las Vegas, NV, for a toy photographers meet up. When I started planning this event with my friends Dinoczars, Bricksailboat and +LEGO Wiiman I had no idea anyone would be interested in joining us.

So imagine my elation when one of my favorite toy photographers, Matt Rhode (otherwise known as  x_capatain_kaos_x) was one of the first to commit! Matt is one of the more interesting and best known characters active in the Instagram toy community. 
I’ve been following the good Captain for much of my nearly three years on Instagram. I’ve watched both his photography and storytelling skills grow. His mastery of the “flying shot” is nothing less than stunning. I think there are very few people who can make an inert bit of plastic look as alive as this guy can. 
His Stormtroppers are not the hapless stooges of Vader, but fun loving daredevils that live life to the fullest. Whether they are cliff diving or Para-Leafing they make the most of what they have (and I never doubt for a minute that they are actually doing all these things). His flying shots are a constant source of inspiration to me.

Successful Drop by Matt Rohde
Even though Matt has a wonderful cast of recurring characters, Stan the Stormtrooper, Frank from Donnie Darko and Gojira to name a few, my favorite is the Skeleton from Jason and the Argonauts. His quest to find Winter and slay him is priceless on every level: the staging, the story line, his never ending alcohol stupor all combine for pure poetry. I look forward to more crazy antics from this lovable character.

Why Me? by Matt Rohde

Of course it’s not all fun and games in Matt’s world, especially when the going gets rough. I can’t help but think his military background leads an authenticity to his battle scenes that few other photographers can match. I will admit his story lines can get too violent for my tastes (and the exuberance for the violence exhibited in the comments by his admirers I find a little disturbing), but I realize that this only reflects the world we live in. As I find myself retreating into my own form of magical realism it is good to know that there are other photographers willing to keep it far more real.
It will be interesting to see how we all get along when we meet up in Las Vegas. It is risky to take the anonymity out of our friendships, but I am sure that our mutual respect will carry us through. 
If you’re interested in seeing how this all plays out in person, feel free to join us in Las Vegas in January, we can always find room for one more. In the mean time head over the @x_captain _kaos_x on Instagram and check out his toy photography and all those beautiful stories in detail. 
~ xxsjc

Have you ever meet someone you have followed on Instagram and how did it go?
Who do you follow on Instagram that you would love to meet in person?